Brogan's dancing through Hoops
CELTIC is not only a club like no other, it is much more than just a football team. This is a sentiment that has been underlined over the years through the club’s charitable work.
From education to recreation, Celtic FC Foundation does a variety of work to help disadvantaged people in society.
Dance instructor and Celtic FC Foundation coach, Brogan Howat, has seen and delivered that work first-hand and said it is a rewarding endeavour to be part of.
“I work with some of the youth groups that come to Celtic Park on a Friday night and I take them through dance and help them with other aspects like football or music,” the 23-year-old said.
“It was Brian Delaney, a project manager with the Foundation, who asked me to do it and on a Saturday I work with the Ability Counts project as well. With that I help children who have Down’s Syndrome and autism by taking them in a dance class for an hour and teaching them simple things to help build their stamina.
“We’ll also look at dance routines which gives the children something to learn week-on-week.
“It allows the children to improve their flexibility and mobility and allows them to work different muscles they are not used to using. It also helps build up stamina and reduce their weight or keeps it steady if that’s affected by their conditions.
“All of the kids are really good friends and it also helps them socialise.”
Dance has always been a big part of Brogan’s life and she eventually used that passion to build her career prospects by taking educational courses in it.
She now has a string of degrees behind her and said that the work with Celtic FC Foundation has been crucial in her own personal development, as well as helping those in need.
“I went to Stow College and did a HND in professional stage dance and then did an honours degree in musical theatre and now have my post-grad diploma for teaching at college,” she added.
“So I was doing that, then doing freelance for myself and just covering classes and speaking to the Council. I then found out about the Celtic initiative and managed to get involved. I had a season book for seven years as I’m a big Celtic fan, and so are my Dad and Granddad, so they were delighted with me getting the post with the club.
“Celtic FC Foundation is amazing because you see the progression the children make. Even with the youth groups there are some children that come in with behavioural issues but you can build up a friendship with them and get to know them a wee bit better.
“The children are getting to take part in things they never would have been involved in before or perhaps wouldn’t have been able to take part in, so it’s really rewarding. They’re now doing something they enjoy and want to continue that and they may even continue to do it in further life, which is great.
“The experience I’m gathering is really helping. I did my placement at one of the colleges when I did my post-grad diploma. Some of the kids are only doing it because they want to do it for fun and they don’t realise that there is potential to do it in the real world.
“Working with kids with behavioural issues has helped me go and deal with situations in different ways so that's been really good.”
While playing its part to help the disadvantaged of society, Celtic FC Foundation’s diverse range of employees allows it to also provide help to outside events, like dancers for the Commonwealth Games.
Before the sporting spectacle landed in Glasgow this summer, a rallying call was issued to talented people across the country to help create an opening ceremony at Celtic Park that would last long in the memories of those who watched and took part.
Brogan Howat, answered that call and said it was an experience that will live with her down the years.
She told the Celtic View: “I went to Delhi four years ago to do the closing ceremony and we were sent out emails to apply for the opening ceremony for these games. I applied and I got through the auditions successfully.
“I have been pitch-side at Celtic Park before but it was bizarre being there and seeing the big stage and the huge TV screen. It was crazy. It didn’t look like Celtic Park but it did look amazing.
“The atmosphere was amazing too. It was surreal to be a part of it. You had the thousands of people that came to watch it and then all of us backstage. There were 100 people in my group, and then 500 in another group and 1,000 people in the third group so there were lots of performers.
“And that’s not including the celebrities and guests there as well so there were thousands of people who took part just to create that opening ceremony, which was amazing.
“I met Karen Dunbar and John Barrowman and it was just amazing to be a part of it and I have a few wee screen shots of me on telly as well so I was delighted.”